Specialized Gyms

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HEALTHWATCH - Staying active is critical for many patients left disabled by life changing accidents or by a painful health disorder. Now specialized gyms are offering sports and fitness programs to make it easier for people to stay healthy.

Harsh Thakkar was the victim of a violent crime 12 years ago that left him in a wheelchair. He didn’t know how he would keep his body in shape. “It was difficult to understand how to work out again.”

Thakkar now coordinates a fitness program at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington. It’s open to anyone who is disabled, free of charge.

“Without this program, I don’t know where I would be.”

Trainers customize workouts for patients who have had strokes, brain tumors, MS, and debilitating injuries. The goal is to help people who can’t stay active improve their strength and endurance.

“There are no limits to what people are capable of doing. That’s our motto here.”

66 year old Ray Bourgeois is a quadriplegic after a snow-tubing accident. This electric stationary bike moves his legs for him, which is critical for rebuilding muscles. “I followed up with therapy sessions at the hospital, and I am determined to get out of my wheelchair.”

Participants say it’s not the exercise alone that makes a difference. It’s doing it with people who know exactly what they’re going through.

Zandra Miller says the program has helped her feel better. “It’s given me a second lease on life. It has.” Physically and emotionally.

The trainers say the program also improves the mood and confidence of patients.

Segment Sponsored by: Mercy Health System